SUICIDE OR SCAM? Mystery after trader loses $15.6m in risky Bitcoin price bet

1302
Suicide or scam? Trader loses $15.6 million in risky Bitcoin price bet

A Bitcoin trader has reportedly committed suicide after losing 2000 BTC – but some question whether it’s actually a cover-up for an exit scam.

The co-founder of Chinese cryptocurrency data analysis firm BTE.TOP has reportedly committed suicide after losing 2000 Bitcoins owned by his clients.

But some observers have raised doubts, claiming the company’s offices had shut down a month ago.

8BTC reported the Chinese crypto entrepreneur was using 100x leverage, exposing himself to huge losses.

His former partner reported the suicide on June 5 on social media.

Bitcoin price suicide
The apparent suicide was reported by his former partner.

Hui Yi, the 42-year-old CEO and co-founder, was suspected of embezzling 2000 BTC, or US$15.6 million [AU$22.4 million] worth at today’s price, from clients in order to short Bitcoin using leverage trading.

Using 100x leverage means that even a 1% price move can wipe out an account.

On May 31, Hui was still active in a WeChat group predicting the Bitcoin price would plunge and hit an intraday low of $7000.

Crypto community shocked, but some raise doubts

The Chinese crypto community has been shocked by the sudden death, with many wondering why a seasoned trader would act so irrationally by placing such a risky bet.

But 8BTC reports some people are suspicious:

“Some observers even suggest that Hui faked his own death to abscond with the 2,000BTC, as they believe the seasoned market trader must have earned a lot before it and there’s no need for him to give up his life for losses like this,” wrote reporter Lylian Teng.

Social media users posted a picture purporting to be the empty BTE.TOP offices, claiming they had been shut for a month before the apparent suicide.

Bitcoin price suicide
A photograph on social media purporting to be the closed BTE.TOP office

Before founding BTE.TOP, Yi was a senior researcher at IBM China and was a senior product manager at Microsoft between 2003-2008.

There were reports that BTE.COM was the first Chinese blockchain project to receive funding from Softbank China Venture Capital, however, SCVC has released a statement saying they decided against the investment at the end of last year.

Parallels with QuadrigaCX?

The news about Hui Yi led some to draw parallels with Canadian crypto exchange QuadrigaCX, which made headlines around the world after claiming the death of its CEO had left it unable to access $190 million of funds in cold wallets.

An investigation by Ernst & Young later discovered the wallets held no funds.

Bitcoin price plunge suicides sadly not uncommon

However, there are numerous, harrowing reports on Reddit of crypto traders committing suicide after mounting losses.

In May last year, a Russian crypto trader took his own life after he was robbed of half a million worth of crypto.

The criminals had been alerted to his wealth after he flaunted it on the internet.

Indian Bitcoin trader takes own life three weeks ago

And three weeks ago a Bitcoin trader from the Gujarat province of India took his own life, accusing senior police members of pushing him over the brink after they threatened him over losses he sustained trading BTC on their behalf.

Bharat Patel hanged himself after Chirag Savani, the Narmada police force’s Deputy Superintendent, and brother Harnish Savani demanded 11.575 Bitcoin.

News publication the Ahmedabad Mirror published his suicide note in which he said the two police officers had given him 5 BTC to invest but demanded 11.575 BTC back after they had slid in value.

“I am distraught due to the recovery they are claiming. My life is not worth living … I have been forced to commit suicide. The two brothers are responsible for my act.”

If you need help, contact Lifeline Australia on 13 11 14

In America contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline on 1-800-273-8255.

Other national suicide helplines can be found here.